Tina Fey Actually Has The Power To Sway Political Elections

Just yet another reason to love Tina Fey. In a forthcoming Public Opinions Quarterly paper, Jody Baumgardner, Jonathan Morris and Natasha Walth draw an interesting connection between late night television and electoral politics.They found that that watching Tina Fey’s impressions of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live was associated with young Republicans and Independents becoming less likely to support the 2008 Republican ticket. We knew Tina’s Palin impression was legendarily funny, but is she the reason Barack Obama is President?

“When all other variables in the model are held at their mean, those who watched the SNL clip had a 45.4 percent probability of saying that Palin’s nomination made them less likely to vote for McCain,” they write. “This same probability drops to 34 percent among those who saw coverage of the debate through other media. Exposure to the clip had no significant effect on the likelihood of voting for Obama.” The authors of the study are actually referring to it as the “Tina Fey Effect.” From the study:

“We suggest that any potential ‘‘Fey Effect’’ can be understood within the context of priming and attitude change. This theory highlights the idea that the media draw ‘‘attention to some aspects of political life at the expense of others.” Citizens, who are overloaded with information, tend to come to judgment by activating familiar concepts — often those that the media have highlighted. In addition to other applications, priming has been used to explain attitude change in evaluations of presidential candidates and to show that negative political ads can adversely affect opinion. Unlike negative political ads, political humor seems to be fairly popular, which could increase receptiveness to the message. And, because political humor is a form of negative priming, it should also be associated with more negative perceptions of its targets, particularly targets that are new to the national political scene.

Well I don’t know if she influenced my vote but Tina has certainly made an impact on me as well as many other women. She is a champion for career strategy for women. She said in her book Bossypants, “So my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism … ask yourself the following question: ‘Is this person in between me and what I want to do?’ If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.” And also be so funny that you win six Emmys, three SAG awards, three Golden Globes and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Though we may have to blame her if Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney start asking her to do impressions of them.

Below is one of my favorite Tina Fey Sarah Palin impression clips from SNL:

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